What is Flash
In 1993 a software company called FutureWave created their first product called SmartSketch, a drawing application for creating computer graphics. However it didn't gain as much popularity as they had hoped. With the rise of the Internet, FutureWave realized the potential for a vector based web animation tool that would challenge Macromedia's Shockwave. In 1995 FutureWave added frame-by-frame animation features and a year later Macromedia bought SmartSketch from FutureWave and released Flash 1.0 in 1996. Since then Flash had gone through 7 version updates and Adobe (which bought out Macromedia in 2005) released Flash CS3 (version 9.0) in May of 2007.
What is the difference between Flash and Flash Player?
Flash has two components. The first is the authoring software used to create a Flash document or a Flash file that can be played on the web. The second component is the Flash player which plays the web ready animation. The difference between the two is very simple. The Flash player is free and it is a read only program. It can only display Flash documents and not actually create them. Flash player is similar to Adobe Reader, we can only view .pdf files in Reader but Reader cannot create or edit .pdf files. The creation of a flash document requires the authoring software. The most current authoring software is Adobe Flash 9.0.
What can we use Flash for:
One can break Flash's capabilities down into 3 main uses. The first is creating vector graphics and frame-by-frame animations. The second is to create graphics and buttons to be incorporated with Web sites. The last and most complex use is gaming. There are many flash games out there and most take months to create and code. Gaming utilizes a programming language called ActionScript that is unique to the Flash program.